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A part of the new canon of Star Wars, this novel takes place a bit after A New Hope and gives us a Luke Skywalker at a time when he was still more unsophisticated farm boy than Jedi knight. The premise is simple – Luke is given a mission to rescue an analyst intending to defect from Empire to the Alliance. Along for the ride we get a new female protagonist, Nakari. Familiar characters (other than R2-D2) only appear in cameo roles.
The book reads like a Sunday morning cartoon with a very simple, linear plot. Our crew travels to new planets which all appear interesting; I thought each time that planet would be where we finally got into the plot of the book. That never happened and the story kept hopping from place to place, giving each only a brief experience of the world before moving on. After awhile, I realized a professional editor could have cut out whole sections of the book without really affecting the plot. There is a feeling that the author had several great ideas for locations and wanted to cram them all into this one book. We get a special ops section, an alien section, some bounty hunter action, a math species and some space combat thrown as well.
The description of Luke feels real enough, even if his youth is a bit forced at times. Our new protagonist Nakari is, unfortunately, flat and doesn’t really garner interest which takes away from the (a surprise to none) ending.
In the end this is not a bad book, but ultimately forgettable. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.